Month

February 2015

A love for literature (Book report printables too!)

Ahhh, I just love opening a new book, a new adventure always awaits. Turn a page and you are miles away from home as the author spins a tale and wraps you up in another time. I am a bookworm. I love to read. Although the laundry and cleaning is known to pile up while this thing called reading is going on, haha! Now it is my turn to teach my children a love for reading… not so easy when our oldest struggles with it. As it is I am at a cross road…

I am on the hunt for classic literature for our 2nd and 3rd graders to read. So far I have these classics picked out-

Little House on the Prairie    Where the red fern grows     The Chronicles of Narnia

The Call of the Wild     Island of the Blue Dolphins         The Boxcar Children series

along with many more… Shiloh, The Swiss Family Robinson, Where the sidewalk ends, The Indian in the Cupboard,  The Secret Garden, A little Princess, Anne of Green Gables etc. Of course a few of these we will save for next year and the year after, they are more suitable for grades 4-6. What other classics would you recommend?

The lovely thing about the oldest 2 being only 14 months apart, I am able to pull from both grades and teach my students as you would a split class, 2/3 grade. What is putting me at this cross road is that our oldest is (99% sure) dyslexic. We do not know where on the spectrum she is and have only done the online testing, and speaking with the right people but we have not had an ‘official’ diagnosis- that can take up to 2-3 years. Ugh. In the mean time we are heading straight for the solutions and what works. I am debating whether or not I should verbally read aloud the novel to them both, and have them do a book report on the novel being read verbally, or have us slowly trudge through the chapter books, reading a couple chapters a week. Keeping in mind I want to instill a love for reading, not push them from it with bad experiences. They do reading every day, so this would be on top of that.

While I ponder at this for the week (and feel free to share your opinion!) I wanted to share with ya’ll an awesome Book-Report Package I came across. It is too good not to share, There are a few different book report styles to accommodate from Kindergarten through Grade 6. As well as a bonus reading log print out too. Feel free to click on the link above, or click HERE to download your free copies. I already have ours ready to go, if I can choose a book for us to read that is! Too many good ones out there. Enjoy.

Do you have a ‘Bad Kitty’ enthusiast? Click HERE for an awesome free ‘write a story’ template or use it as a tool for book reports- it also includes a bonus ‘how to draw Bad Kitty’ page!

BadKitty

Also I wanted to share a few cute pictures of our twins enjoying one of our free file folder games-  Animals… of all sorts game

AnimalHabitatSortingGame

 

Of course moments after I was able to capture these precious photos it became a game of who could ‘throw’ the animals the farthest… Ahh- they are now laying all over the kitchen floor, while I enjoy oblivion of it all as I write this blog. My wonderful hobby on a Saturday morning- I believe I am on my second or third Americano. (thank goodness for an amazing Hubby who surprised me with my awesome espresso machine- more on this later) The 2 year olds have gone off to who-knows-where (lets hope the olders remembered to put those markers up, again). Onto the short lived photos!

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Miss H loving her animal habitat game.

 

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Miss H close up- she loves making sure they end up in their ‘right’ homes
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many animals to choose from…
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Miss S getting in on the game
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Miss S- our exuberant girly, and the culprit to the animal ‘throwing’ game… she is nowhere to be found to question at the moment…

 

 

 

 

 

 
I hope you all have enjoyed this post, and have a great weekend- Blessings to you all!

Till next time, Amber.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

A new adventure!

 

 

If your kids are like mine, they are long done with winter and longing for a change in weather where they can roam free outside all day to play, run and climb. (instead of climbing the walls in the house, ahhh!) I am so thankful I stumbled upon this enriching program, and not a moment too soon. The kids are now climbing the walls in excitement waiting for our very first package to arrive. The great thing about the Little Passports program is it’s for kids of all ages, our older two (ages 8 & 7) are going to be doing the world edition, where they get to ‘visit’ a new country every month, and receive a pen pal letter from Sam and Sofia. The kids will also be receiving a cool blue suitcase to store their passports, souveniours, activities and information/facts about their country that month. They also include a world wall map, so we can mark each destination. They just came out with a new program called Little Passports Early Explorers for Preschoolers which is based for ages 3-5 and I am hoping to try it with the 4 year old, he would love it.

For now we are going to be doing the World Edition with the oldest two. We plan on doing a group unit study each month on the country we are ‘visiting’. Best of all – the kids get to ‘stamp’ their passport and make sure to add the sticker of their destination to their suitcase. I can not wait to incorporate this into our home education. I hope to share with all of you our first months discoveries, so watch out for my next blog about Little Passports.

Here is a picture of some of the things included when visiting Japan-

LP_Both_Kit

They also just introduced the new World Coin Collection, if you have any children fascinated with coins/money, which sounds pretty cool. Check out the link below for more information on that.

Click on any of the links or pictures found in this blog post to find out more information, check it out, or sign your kids up. A fun activity to do as a family- homeschooled or not! I hope you all found this post helpful, I know I am always up for some fun changes to add some excitement to our days. I hope you all have a wonderful week, till next time-

Amber 

“A joyful heart is good medicine…”

Proverbs 17:22

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshed

 

While our kids enjoyed a wonderful weekend filled with Grandparent fun, sleepovers, sleigh rides, skating and roasting hotdogs over an open fire, the hubby and I snuck away to our provincial homeschooling convention. And wow, what an encouragement!

I highly recommend the conference to all families, homeschooling or not. It took nearly the whole 2 days to check out the thousands of different books of curriculum offered through all the vendors who came out to support it. I still am not convinced we looked at everything each vendor had to offer. There was much to see. It was a nice treat to be able to hold and look through (most cases take home that same day) all the curriculum in one place. I also scored some amazing deals on a Creation Science series and novels at the used book sale, which is open to everyone in attendance at the conference. People can bring their good condition curriculum as their kids outgrow it and resell it, saving others much money from having to buy everything new.

The keynote speaker at our conference was Todd Wilson, founder of Family Man Ministries and has been featured several times on http://www.focusonthefamily.com/. He shared several encouraging thoughts, not only on educating our children, but of living life fully as a family. The bottom line of his sessions and workshops are to get REAL. Focus on the relationship of the child rather than the subject, because the subject they may be struggling in today, they will get tomorrow- or next year, or maybe they are not created to be gifted in that particular area and will never get it. Why push it, and in the mean time crush our children’s spirits and make them feel ‘stupid’ for the sake of standardized testing that tells us they MUST be reading by Gr.1. They MUST be doing such and such by Gr.3 etc.  Is that not why we are homeschooling? It makes no sense to replicate the public school system into our home education system, or else they may as well be in the public school system. No, rather we are homeschooling because we want more for our kids and have a longing to give them something different. Think on this-

Imagine a farmer in a field, planting a seed. He digs, inserts the seed into the rich soil, carefully covering it up, lovingly watering it and waits for it to grow. Now tell me this, what will come up out of the ground?

Why the same seed that was planted of course!

Our children are like those seeds. Planted by God and not one the same. Created unique, and each their own masterpiece. Whatever God’s plan is for them, who He made them to be, they will be. One of the most famous and intelligent men who was part of the genome mapping is Francis Collins M.D., Ph.D. most widely known for his break through discovery in disease genes and his leadership position over the international genome human research project, concluding in 2003 which resulted in the finished DNA instruction booklet. It is known he was homeschooled for most of his childhood, growing up in the 60’s and 70’s he was once overheard giving an interview on a radio talk show where they had asked what his homeschooled years looked like, his response stunned them. He went on to explain that his family drove around a lot going to different plays/theatres and did a lot of reading in the hippie era. That concluded his home education. What a contrast! more can be found here on Francis Collins.

Our children will be who they are made to be, we are a vessel, but not the final outcome. In no way am I saying their formal education is not important, I am saying- just breathe! And don’t sweat it. Relationship with the child comes first. Then the subject. (Now let me double note this for myself to remember tomorrow when I am in the thick of it!) I guess what I am trying to say is lets teach our children and model to them independent and creative thinking, to be leaders, not molded to what society says they should be, in however that looks, that they may be able to be confident in who they are.

A bit of information that caught my attention this weekend was learning and hearing about polls that have been taken, asking homeschooling moms if they think they are doing a good job in educating their children. Do you know the percentage of moms who confidently said yes? 0%. Think about it. Not one mom thinks she is doing a great job. That mom with all the pinterest worthy projects, the mom with 7 kids always on time wherever they go, the mom whose kids are goodness-who-knows-how always clean and immaculate. The mom with the academic prodigy child. We have to stop and give ourselves grace. We are their mother. The person God put in charge of raising them. We are where we are supposed to be in our walk of faith at this time. Right now. Not later, not yesterday- but right now. God’s timing is perfect and He didn’t make us perfect parents with the how-to instruction manual the day we brought our babies home from the hospital. We are all learning together, so lets give grace to ourselves, and to our kids.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a fabulous week,

till next time- Amber

13 For you created my inmost being;     you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;     your works are wonderful,     I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14

** Disclosure- please note I do not have anything against non-homeschooling children or their families- everyone is different and unique. I am a homeschooling advocate, this is our choice and what is right for our family, and I know what is right for us, may not necessarily be right for others**

‘Kiss Me’ (a little bit of Valentine fun)

Happy (Snowy? Blizzard-y?) Valentines Day.

We seem to be stuck in the middle of a snow storm. Although it is quite pretty, it has me longing for spring, and all that comes with it. However, when you live where we do, you get used to it (well, we should get used to it!). At least yesterdays weather cooperated and we were all able to get out and have a wonderful Valentines party with all our other local homeschoolers, I lost count after 34 kids and a handful of cute babies. We sure are blessed to live in such a great community.

This weather although, does not deter us from having a grand ole time being stuck at home. We have been enjoying our day with tea and coffee cake, valentines crafts, and poetry too!

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For your own Valentine poetry pack that includes the poem posted at the top of this page, all the activity pages and activity cards click on this link to download for free ValentinePoetryPack . It is a great resource geared to kids pre-k to elementary. What a fun way to celebrate Valentines day with learning in there too. Here is the end result of our Pom-Pom Valentine Monsters-

DSCF3963I hope you all have a wonderful day, with that I am signing off for the weekend and going to enjoy the flowers and chocolate my hubby just walked through the door with (what a treat!).

Till next time, Amber.

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

 

Learning Fun (and printables too)

One of the trickier aspects of homeschooling is keeping the littles occupied. With a couple 2 year olds and a 4 year old running around the house while trying to do book work with the oldest 2, I often get asked- how do you do it?

Well, there are a few ways, personally Dora is one of my favorites (Shhh!), Nothing wrong with an educational video learning Spanish, right? Exactly. Secondly they are fond of snacks. Put #1 and #2 together and I think we have about a 20 minute window to get some serious work done! That brings us to 9am in the morning.

Jumping over to a more serious note for a minute, we are loving our new laminator.  Purchased for a steal of a deal online through Staples, I highly recommend anyone who is homeschooling or working with little people to invest in one. The web is crawling with free printable educational games including this fun  Planets-The-Game  which happens to be our 4 year olds favorite activity to play while sitting beside his big brother and sister (back to ‘how do you do it?’ #3) while they are doing school work. Just print, run through the laminator and cut out. Ready to play. This game and many others can be found over here at http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/57880/free-printable-game Free-Printable-GameThe twins have a few favorites too, including this adorable ‘Match the animals to their habitats’  game which can be found over here at this website http://filefolderfun.com/SecondGradeScience/AnimalHabitat with many more to choose from. AnimalHabitatGamePin The kids are often found sitting together doing these file folder games as a group, which always is a wonderful sight. I hope these will be of use to you, as they have been for us, we are quite enjoying them.

Sincerely, Amber

“For God made two great lights, the sun and the moon to shine down upon the earth. The greater one, the sun, presides during the day; the lesser one, the moon, presides through the night. He also made the stars”

Genesis 1:16